Still Life

"Each one of us is different. Very different. We struggle, pieces that we are, to come together as one."


1. Our World As We Know It

It rained all Monday. The walk home had become an endless journey, from a cyclical promenade to my weak and exhausted body dragging itself across the damp, uninhabited pavement, hoping that I could finally reach my desired location that seemed to be running further away with each step I had taken forward.

By the time I got home, the rain had subsided into a soft and calming drizzle. After disposing of the wet clothes that clung onto my sweaty skin like the sharp claws of an angry cat, I had finally settled down on to my single bed, topped with two mattresses, with nothing but my laptop resting on my thighs and a tall, thin glass of boiling hot water grasped in my left hand.

Without pulling back the top of my laptop, I let my body gradually fall, as lightly and slowly as possible, onto the soft, cream bed covers underneath me. My sore and pounding head sunk deep into the marshmallow that was gently sucking my skull in.

I took the first and final sip of warm water from the clouded cup, placed it on the black, cluttered table that stood next to me and closed my eyes, letting the two, sticky pieces of flesh attach together.

I remained silent, listening to the soft, calming song of the feather-light raindrops hit my slightly-ajar, polished double-glazed windows. My distraught mind enjoyed eavesdropping on the weightless water singing its melancholic melody of loss and loneliness.

I lay there, for what seemed like eternity,  my eyes closed but still wide awake, imagining the minuscule raindrops cleansing my diseased heart. Reluctantly, my thoughts began falling, like leaves from a cherry blossom, creating the unfamiliar feeling of peace.

I wondered, for a single moment, what I was doing here. Not just in my house, or in my bedroom, but staining the surface of the Earth with my invisible, meaningless footprints. My tired eyes flung open and began lazily to focus on the beige paint that was spread along the lumps and bumps of the lower ceiling until my vision had finally melted into the neutral-coloured pigment parallel to me.

My mind questioned the silence for a second; what am I doing with my life? While others my age are out with their friends shopping and eating, going to the cinema or hanging out in the city, I was stuck here, in a time-lapse, lying on my bed, wasting away.

My body sat itself up and my dry lips opened and let out a long yawn. I leant over the side of my bed, listening to the plastic mattress cover crunch beneath me. I stretched my arms above me and picked up my crisp copy of Pieces of You and began to fumble with the words; stepping out of reality and jumping into the unknown.

And out of nowhere, the rims of my swollen eyes started brimming with the unforgotten and long-lost tears of my own loneliness.

‘How unfortunate,’ I thought to myself, letting the salty, warm water coat my corneas. It was quite ironic really; how I could sympathize with a fictional character’s loss yet I felt nothing towards my own. I care for those who did not acknowledge me, but somehow I had abandoned myself, letting my soul rot and mould in the palms of my outstretched hands.

I pressed the two separated pieces of the black, hard cover book together as gently as I could to preserve the mint condition it was in. I let it rest on the centre of my chest, watching it slowly rise and slowly fall as I inhaled and eventually exhaled. I looked back up at the ceiling that was glaring down at me and let out an unintentional sigh.

My thoughts began to run away, far out of my reach, hurrying past the memories of what once existed and the muddled up plans for the uncertain future that was locked away in a pretty, little keep-sake box, invisible to the naked eye.

‘What was the world coming to?’ my mind whispered to me, ever so quietly. Every time I tried to ignore my own question, my brain pressed on, eager to squeeze an answer out of me. The world was changing quite rapidly, in my opinion. The minutes, seconds would rush past me, as if they had somewhere important to go, while I was standing in the same place as before, my feet cemented into the ground.

It was in with the new and out with the old. From flip phones to smart phones and computers to tablets; things were becoming smaller, compact and portable. Times had changed; skirts had got shorter and children wanted to grow up faster. Teenagers were still in the process of finding themselves and searching for their unheard voices while being doubted by a majority of the older generation, who were constantly pressuring them to do their utmost best.

Comparing and competing: that’s what the youth of today have to go through. Not good enough, not smart enough, judged for being different, for being themselves – for becoming an individual.

Society stereotypes those it does not know; study hard and you are a ‘geek’, procrastinate and you are a ‘lazy slob who is going to get nowhere in life’. You cannot win either way.

But it is wrong; burrow deeper into that teenager’s soul and you may end up coming across a diamond among the tiny stones.

I yawned once again, slid my book under my pillow and pushed my body off my comfortable bed to go for a soothing shower to wash away the world where I did not belong.

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